5.1.5 Probationary Period

Policy Section: Conditions of Employment

Subsection: Work Status & Schedules

Effective Date
November 02, 2023
Previously Updated
July 01, 2021
Applicable to
Benefits-Eligible Staff
Responsible Executive
Romy Riddick, Vice President for Human Resources
Responsible Office
Office of Human Resources
Policy Description

Princeton University is committed to providing a positive work environment for all employees where they can flourish and contribute to departmental objectives. For newly hired regular and term benefits-eligible employees, the probationary period is used to onboard new employees and set specific goals to determine if performance is satisfactory to continue employment. The duration of the probationary period depends on the position category due to reasonable length of time to fully assess performance based upon level of responsibility:

  • Biweekly Staff: 90 calendar days
  • Administrative and Information Technology Professionals: 180 calendar days
  • Union: Employees who are members of a union, or who have employment contracts, should refer to their contracts for the applicable probationary period.
Application of the Policy

Notice of eligibility for a probationary period is in job postings and noted in the job offer letter. This policy does not apply to employees who transfer internally to new positions, except where noted in a collective bargaining agreement for union members.

Employees are entitled to receive all benefits for which they are eligible throughout the probationary period. The probationary period supports the principles established in the University’s performance management process.

Supervisors should communicate regularly with newly hired employees to:

  • Clarify job responsibilities, performance standards, and workplace practices.
  • Provide the necessary onboarding support, such as training and/or orientation, to set the individual up for success.
  • Regularly assess the employee’s performance and provide documented constructive feedback where improvement is needed.
  • Determine if the employee should continue in the position.

Supervisors should consult with their senior HR manager during of the probationary period if they have any performance-related concerns. In extraordinary circumstances, the probationary period can be extended with the approval of the senior management of the department and in consultation with Human Resources. 

Discipline & Termination

During the Probationary Period, matters pertaining to discipline and termination of an employee are not subject to review under the University’s Fairness Review process, a formal grievance process, and/or arbitration procedures. If the decision is not to continue employment because of poor performance, the individual's employment is terminated. Unionized staff and their managers should consult the appropriate union contract for specific procedures and pay.

Other Policy Considerations

Unless otherwise noted, all Princeton policies, procedures, and regulations apply to employees throughout the probationary period.

Update Log

7/1/2012: Policy revised

11/10/2016: Clarification of eligibility

7/1/2021: Policy revised to include 180 days probationary period for monthly paid (exempt) staff

11/2/2023: Policy revised